By Cemil Özyurt - Turkish-American relations are getting worse and it is very difficult to predict how they will be shaped in the near future. We will be facing a new crisis every single day and the tension has been escalating even more when it is hoped to be decreased. The U.S. and Turkey have been through the most depressing period of time since 1950, despite the fact that Turkey was hoping that President Trump would made the relations better after the elections in November 2016. Unfortunately, the situation at the very end is a complete disappointment. The two NATO allies are at odds over a number of issues such as:
As far as I know, we, TurkofAmerica, are the only Turkish-American publication that having ranks for influential Turkish-American role models from women to young people, from doctors to lawyers. The 50 Most Influential Turkish-Americans and the 30 Most Influential Turkish-American Women lists were our latest ranks which we worked very hard to create. On this issue, we hope that you will enjoy to read, we have 40 most influential Turkish-American under 40 years old. From Silicon Valley to New York finance world, TURKOFAMERICA highlights the untold success stories of young leaders of American society.
Since then, I have been very curious about the Ottoman Dynasty, which has lived in exile. I attempted a couple times to reach out to Prince Ertuğrul Osman but I wasn’t able to make it. He died in 2009 and one of my biggest regrets is not meeting with him before he passed away.
Almost 10 years later, I learned that current head of the Ottoman family lives in New York. I couldn’t miss this opportunity once again and I reached him through a friend.
We met with HIH Bayazıd Osman on a cold winter night. Since then we get together once a week for lunch or dinner. Over the last 30 years of my life, I have been reading history books and autobiographies and watched documentaries about the Ottoman family in exile; now I am a witness to this history.
After serving their country for 622, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and about 300 members of the Ottoman Dynasty were forced into exile in March 1924. They spread out over 15 different countries, from France to Germany, Austria to Switzerland. Some of them ended up in America.
In this issue, we have researched the family members who came to the United States. TURKOFAMERICA is the first publication, which has gathered family members together in New York.
We have come across very sad stories, heartbreaking memories and inconceivable incidents. The family kept quiet almost 70 years. They declined most interview requests and preferred to stay low profile. While preparing this issue, I have met Princes (Şehzade), Princesses (Sultan), Imperial Princesses (Hanım Sultan), and other members of the family. The Ottoman family members whom I have met are down to earth people, each of them able to speak least three or four languages, generous and very proud of their heritage. Even though they have lived almost 90 years in exile, they don’t say anything against Turkey.
In the last decades, Turkish governments have make reconciliation with different minorities and ethnic groups such as the Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, and Gypsies who live in Turkey. I think it’s time for the Turkish government to face the last Ottomans who survived in very hard conditions over the past 90 years. The government should consider giving their estates, lands, possessions, and assets back to them along with their Turkish IDs and passports. If Armenian, Assyrian, and Gypsy people in Turkey deserve to have their rights back, the family who served their country for 622 years should have the same rights as the rest.